Epilogue.

Coming into my first semester at Weber State, and my first full year of college, to say I was nervous would be an understatement. I was unsure about how I would do in college, and I worried tirelessly if I would actually be able to make it. This English class helped me build more confidence in my writing and consequently, the rest of my learning abilities. This class has helped me to learn not only how to write a college level research paper and personal narrative, but also how to find my voice while writing and apply that to my work. I feel as though it’s changed my outlook on writing almost entirely. I think it’s helped me greatly to know that I can have a personal relationship to my writing, because that’s something I’ve always struggled with. I was always unsure if I could use my own voice while writing a paper, and I think knowing now that I can be has strengthened my confidence in doing so.

There are many aspects of this class which I could apply and use in other classes. The ability to write coherently is no doubt integral in any class. I would like to go into forensic science as my major, so I will undoubtedly be writing another research paper or two in the foreseeable future. The ability to do this kind of writing may actually have been the most valuable lesson from this class, because that style of writing has always been something that I’ve struggled with. I can think back on past English or science classes with the task of writing a research paper, but never being completely sure on how to go about doing so. It was because I didn’t understand the structure, or what went into each section. After taking this class, I feel that I understand this kind of writing exponentially more.

There’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to miss this class quite a bit. I always enjoyed the atmosphere that this class had, and the structure and pace of it. It was nice to actually focus on writing in a writing class, sounds ridiculous right? This is the first English class of mine to do so. I’m so glad I chose this class to fulfill my English 2010 requirement!

the end

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Blast the Blinking Cursor: Writer’s and Writer’s Block

Staring at a blank computer screen, the cursor flashes, mocking me. My mind is blank. Flash-flash. Words escape me, and I tense to the faint sound of a ticking clock. What is this madness? It is writer’s block, and I am looking for a way to dig my way out with words, phrases, and complex sentences. This condition is something many writer’s will struggle with during their lifetime, though it is not commonly recognized. Some even doubt that the condition exists altogether. What exactly is this polarizing condition known as writer’s block? When faced with the issue, how can it be solved?

While conducting my research, I noticed a few common themes appearing across my topic. I noticed that while some could describe many times this condition occurred, there are few that believe the condition doesn’t in fact exist. I also found that for some, when facing writer’s block it helps to focus on something else, be it food, an aquarium, music, etc.while for others, they choose to power through it and write as much as they can without fear of being “good” or not. Due to this being a polarizing subject, I can sort almost anyone into categories depending on if they believe writer’s block is a real condition, or not. While more of my found sources believe in this concept strongly, the latter also presents an interesting perspective.

An interesting contrast that I found between these two groups was how they choose to work past writer’s block when they come across it, even if they may not always call it by name. For instance, I found a source who does not believe in writer’s block being a legitimate condition, but also gave advice on how to work past a temporary feeling of being stuck while writing. I could label the first group generally by saying they choose to temporarily focus on another subject be it eating, music, meditation, or the beach. The second can be categorized as people who just power through their condition, either by take it on piece by piece, or using a blitzkrieg type method where they simply write as much as they can and edit later on.

writing

Stuck in the Middle…Beginning, or End: Confronting Writer’s Block Head On

Is there anything truly more ironic than a person writing about the inability to write? Despite how outrageous the idea may seem, here we find ourselves.

While only few know the condition by name, many people have experienced writer’s block at some point or another in their lives. This state is characterized by the inability to produce new work while writing, or even a complete loss of one’s creative thought process entirely. This is a hot button issue not only within communities of writers, but within the public as a whole. Fore example, if you were asked to think back over all of your experiences while writing and feel confident in saying you’ve yet to personally experience this condition? This affliction is a threat to the writing process, and in some cases, it can consequently be a threat to a person’s sanity.

After my initial dive into the archives, I was struck by Helen Sheehy’s article, “How My Sister Cured My Writer’s Block.” It’s a gripping story about Sheehy’s relationship with her schizophrenic sister, and its connection to her inability to write. She describes the toll it takes on her to know she’s partially responsible for her sister living in an institution, while she has the ability to live her life as a “free” woman. The way she connects this heartache to her inability to write freely made me think, is this an often occurrence? Is emotional turmoil the main contributor to this unfortunate phenomenon?

My goal of this paper is to explore the contribution a person’s emotional state has to the development of writer’s block. I may also find other contributors, and in that case, it may be interesting to explore those possibilities as well. I plan on searching the archives to find as many cases I can find involving the topic of writer’s block, and analyze the similarities and differences in the experiences of the writers. I also plan on interviewing some of my friends who are writers in order to broaden my search.

I believe this paper could be helpful in order to better understand this phenomenon. I would like to find possible contributors to its occurrence, and the ways many people work past this condition. There are thousands upon thousands of writers in this world, many of whom will experience this many times in their lives. Compiling this information could possibly help another person to avoid this condition, or if they still find themselves in this situation, they will be equipped with proven methods of helping themselves out of it.

your brain on writers block

The Subtle Art of Stalling

Have you ever struggled with writer’s block? I know I have. In fact, I have faced the ugly demon, writer’s block, on more than one occasion, as do many other people every year. Being surrounded by writers all of my life, I’ve always been fascinated about the phenomenon so many struggle with, but many don’t often talk about. It seems strange to me that something this threatening to the creative process can go this overlooked.

For this last essay, I would like to discuss the causes of writer’s block and the effects it has on the writing process. When I started my research, I almost instantaneously found a piece of writing that could aide me in my quest for knowledge on this topic. This article was found on a blog titled The Creative Penn for award-nominated, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Joanna Penn. Her article, “The Ugly Truth About Writer’s Block (And It’s Cure)” gives lots of helpful information to make writer’s block easier to understand. An especially useful piece of information was Penn’s explanation on why writer’s block happens. She also uses a comparison to a bathroom sink as a metaphor to connect her audience in order to explain her ideas on it further.

Penn’s explanation of why writer’s block happens generated even more of my interest in this topic. My biggest light bulb moment came from reading in Penn’s article as she said, “…the truth is, if you have writer’s block, that means that you cannot follow your passion because some sort of psychological, emotional, or spiritual baggage is keeping you from the pursuit.” It got me to think about why exactly it is that this happens, and ways it can be prevented! I think this can be an extremely interesting topic, and I’m excited to learn more about it.

woman writing

The “Sorority Experience”, From the Perspective of a Pledge

“Sisterhood. It’s the kind of bond that will last a lifetime.” If you were to talk to not only the members from my particular sorority, but all members of “Greek” groups, regarding why they became a part of their community, family-esque bonding is a continuous theme. Thursday evening, I was given the opportunity to interview a fellow pledge sister, who will be referred to as “Reed”,  concerning her views on our shared discourse community, Tau Psi Beta sorority. While many of her answers were to be expected, I was surprised by some of her responses as well, given the information from this particular community.

For example, when asked for her reasoning behind joining Tau Psi Beta Sorority, Reed informs me of her personal desire to “be a part of something”. Tau Psi Beta was founded in 2013 with the specific intention of forming a deep connection with the community. The social aspect seems to be a common “pull-factor” for potential new members. Many see this as one of the best ways to become involved and active within the campus community. I expect this to be a reoccurring answer to that question in particular. It may be interesting to see if there are any discrepancies in the responses to that answer, so I will be keeping a close eye on it. It could be important for how I will be describing to the audience why exactly people join this community, so they may understand more about what this community means to its members.

Something I was fascinated to learn from Reed was her frustration about our pledge class’ “lack of communication”. I’m sure if you ask almost anyone about what their expectations are for a pledge experience, stress would certainly be one of the most prominent answers. For Reed’s pledge experience in particular, this issue with communication was the main contributing factor to that stress. I believe this issue specifically will be essential for my essay. If the goal is to discuss the discourse within members of a community, a flaw pertaining to said discourse would be crucial to analyze. The information gained may help to better understand the situation, and with that information, the community could possibly change which gives the chance to improve as a whole.

I have many more questions to ask members of Tau Psi Beta. I formed many of my questions with the type of person I could ask specifically in mind. I currently have interviews scheduled with the many leaders of this group, ranging from all levels of authority. I feel as though with the different levels of membership such as pledge, active, alumni, etc. It would be interesting to examine the different answers in relation to what level of power that member holds. It could help to have a deeper understanding of the class structure within this community, so I think they will be essential to ask in my piece of writing.

I am looking forward to interviewing the other sisters in Tau Psi Beta, and I hope it can help to display the diversity within my discourse community.

girls laughing

Genre Analysis: “Group of Friends”

This fall, I decided to pledge for a sorority. With that decision comes many responsibilities that I must uphold in order to become an active member of said sorority in the near future. In order to take care of these responsibilities as well as be aware of upcoming events, I am a part of a group chat titled “Group of Friends” on an app. Below are my descriptions and processes of crafting my genre analysis, set to R. Stevens Amidon’s construct, lastly are my pictures displaying my genre analysis.

For Section 1, I discussed the social image of this genre of writing. Essentially, I was discussing the genre of the text, being a form of communication with the purpose of spreading information between advisors and the probationary members of my discourse community. It was easy to explain the kind of information or knowledge which I expect to gain from this genre, because the entire purpose of this document is to spread information from member to member. For Section 2, I state the writers within my document, this being the two advisor members and our eleven probationaries. A probationary member does not necessarily have any credentials, besides being a potential new member. To be considered an advisor, they must have gone through the same process we are currently going through. Writers can only be members of the group. In the audience section, I discuss the members of this group chat. They are the only people who can view this document. Regarding the audience, they also happen to be all of the writers I previously mentioned. All members of the document are required to also be writers on said document for the sake of communication. The advisors are seen as the leaders and as superior. The potential new members are seen as submissive followers. Both may relay information, but the tone and way of communication differ depending on the type of member.

As I stated previously, this is a strictly information based document. Its sole purpose is to share and distribute information between the advising members, and potential new members. The text may adapt depending on the needs of the audience. In Section 3, the formal features of the document are discussed. The general structure of the sharing of the information begins with a message from an advisor, followed by responses by the PNMs. The tone of this document has an overall feeling of forcefulness from the advisors, but it remains to have an overall personal feeling to it. The voice of the writing can differ depending on the current writer, or the current topic of discussion. The tone is not always formal, so full names are not necessary, and contractions are deemed acceptable. As this is an informal group chat, complete sentences are not expected within this genre. It is uncommon to see complete sentences within the text, let alone full paragraphs. Transition words are only utilized when moving between topics.  Due to this group chat taking place within a texting app over mobile phones, the format within the text (font size, headers, line spacing) cannot change. Graphics/ Illustrations are often used with a corresponding caption to explain said graphic to the audience.

At first, it seemed that studying this piece of evidence would be a complex procedure, but I’m happy to say that in this particular case, it may not be too difficult to grasp the genre at hand. It is a form of discourse with the intent of relaying information between its members in an informal but often times forceful way. Between the advisors and probationary members, there are many dynamics at hand so it’s interesting to see the interactions within the document. While it is informal, thete are particular forms of etiquette involved which make this document in particular, a very interesting one to observe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love, Laughter, and Dysfunction: My Discourse Communities

Who are you to others? How did you come to be that way? Personally, I am a daughter, a sister, a friend, and most recently, I am a pledge. These titles have been given to me by the wonderful few groups of people I am lucky to say are part of my life. Depending on the community, we communicate in many contrasting ways whether it be in the way we speak to one another, or interact across numerous platforms.

I was born into an eccentric family of four. Seven, if you count our precious fur babies. My mother is a self identifying witch with a passion for wine, the written word, and all things unicorn related. My father is a lover of music, whether it be “retro” or one of today’s hits, and is a self proclaimed “tech geek” who has been a stay at home parent for most of my life. To describe my brother as a fiercely introverted shut-in would simply be an understatement. He spends most of his days locked in his room, consuming one game after the next. Given our descriptions, many people may not put the four of us together, but that’s what makes us special. We’re all different in our own ways but similar through mutual love and respect for one another. Because of our differences, we do sometimes don’t see eye to eye which can cause problems, but we come out stronger after by rising above our differences. All in all, while I may not have chosen to be a member of this group, if given the choice, I’d pick them every time.

By growing up in Hawai’i, you develop friendships differently than most. It can make even the most unlikely groups of friends close, and help to form bonds not easily broken. That’s what happens when you live on the one of the most isolated pieces of land on the planet. This has shaped the friendgroup I have back home, so even though I’m almost 3,000 miles away, we are all still close. Messages through the use of technology became an important part of our means of staying together. To have any kind long distance relationship, whether it be romantic or purely platonic, communication is essential. This can actually be said about any relationship, long-distance or otherwise. At times, due to either scheduling issues or just a lack of free time, we can lack in communication which can cause problems, but I remain hopeful. I did meet all of my friends back home through our shared environment, but unlike my family, I have personally chosen to include each and every one of them to be in my life and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

My seeminly most “relevant” community that I am a part of at the moment would be the sorority I am currently pledging to. At the moment, I am in a group of twelve pledges total and there are over fifteen active members and thirty alumni. We constantly take part in activities with one another, so consistent messaging between members to be expected. We meet in person on many days of the week and also choose to communicate VIA instant messaging. I believe it’s because I’m so far from my usual support system that I felt the need to reach out to become a part of this community. I feel as though this may be an interesting group to report on because it’s my impression that many people have a misconception about women in sororities and I would love to show the reality of what it’s like being in a “sisterhood”. This may be my most practical group to observe and report on because as it is, it’s one of the only significant groups which I am both a part of, and can meet with in person to observe multiple types of communication, rather than just over text. I could observe them through meetings in person, across social media, and through instant messenger. It’s something I feel like I can be passionate about while writing, that’s for sure!

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